The movie's title, with its religious overtones, is a literal reference to the railway station where Leo Tolstoy died a few days after leaving his wife and home, presumably to become a wandering ascetic (though he brought his personal physician with him). The little station, in the middle of a vast Russian nowhere, quickly became the site of a protomedia frenzy when telegraph wires flashed news of Tolstoy's illness, and Sofya came to see her beloved husband for the last time. The story's climax turns out to be anticlimactic, a predictable contrivance that pits the countess, for the last time, against Chertkov, who wants to manage Tolstoy's death as he managed his life. But the ending seems contrived only in contrast to what has gone before—a lovely quicksilver version of literary history, with the accent on young love that emerges unbidden, and old love that endures.
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